In this week's post on the Notes From Susie blog, Mark Edwards features an excerpt from the book followed by a new postscript reflection on the passage.
Someone characterized people's Christian faith as either simple or complex. Honey was the former, and I say the lucky one. I'm the latter and have to think through it all, try to modify it, massage it, and work at it. Not Honey. She was a "what He says we will do and where He sends we will go, never fear, only trust and obey" person. She didn't consider herself a good Christian witness, mostly due to a narrow view of "witness" pretty much limited to buttonholing nonbelievers and converting them. Honey wasn't going to buttonhole anyone for any reason, but she certainly was an effective witness.
Honey was a pray-er although she didn't like to pray aloud, much less in public. She used the time writing notes to people as an opportunity to pray for them. I often saw prayer lists around the house tucked away in safe places. I know she prayed for me, our kids, grandkids, and a host of others all the time. It was private but very personal and regular.
Her faith ran deep, borne out of her spirit of profound gratitude that produced joy. She always remembered provisions made for her -- a birth mother who chose life over death, a family who adopted her, Jesus who died for her, a husband who loved her, good job, friends, family, our house and home, and the list goes on. Getting sick was a downer for her, but it provided whole new group of friends and professionals. And the interesting thing was that she didn't have to work at interacting with people or being grateful, that's just they way she was.
The last two years of her life when I would put her to bed, she would always say, "Thank you for everything you did for me today," and she meant it. Often she would continue, "We are so blessed," then rattle off a list of things that came to mind. All our married life, she would adapt to whatever the circumstance and be okay about it. She could honestly sing with the hymn writer, "Whatever my lot, Thous hast taught me to say, 'It is well with my soul." It really was in life and it certainly is now.
Beginning to develop the Notes From Susie book, I wrote that piece only a few weeks after Honey died. Two years and one week later, I see the truth of it even more clearly. The first part of this week, I tended the Celebrating Grace booth at a union meeting -- actually a church music conference -- during which several people made it a point to speak to me reporting how much they were blessed having read the book (and even following this blog.) All of it only confirms the point I was trying to make in the first paragraph -- Honey was, indeed, a powerful witness to her Christian faith that ran deeply even though it spoke quietly. It also reminds me of one definition of a saint -- “someone who never stops doing good.”
This old hymn certainly carries the freight of Honey’s quiet witness to her deep faith.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word
what a glory He sheds on our way!
Let us do His good will; He abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
but our toil He does richly repay;
not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor He shows and the joys He bestows
are for those who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet
or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
what He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.
[All together now…]
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Words – John H. Sammis, 1887
Thanks, Honey, for witnessing to us all.